Part 68 of the FCC rules (47 C.F.R. Part 68) governs the direct connection of Terminal Equipment (TE) to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Also covered by Part 68 are TE that are connected to wireline facilities owned by wireline telecommunications providers and used to provide private line services. (See 47 C.F.R. § 68.100.) Under Part 68, wireline telecommunications carriers must allow all TE to be directly connected to their networks, provided that the TE meets certain technical criteria for preventing four proscribed harms. These harms are electrical hazards to operating company personnel, damage to network equipment, malfunction of billing equipment, and degradation of service to customers other than the user of the TE and that person's calling and called parties. Part 68 rules establish processes to identify, publish, and update these technical criteria, and also to approve TE for attachment to the network. The rules also provide for the development and maintenance of a publicly accessible database of approved TE and for labeling TE that have been shown to comply with the technical criteria. All approved TE are required to be listed in the database and to be properly labeled.
Part 68 also contains rules concerning Hearing Aid Compatibility and Volume Control (HAC/VC) for wireline telephones and for wireline phones used with advanced communications services, such as VoIP. (For specific information about Part 68’s HAC/VC rules, see the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau web page at https://www.fcc.gov/hearing-aid-compatibility-and-volume-control.)